Saturday, December 17, 2011

WSJ: "Disaster Losses Highest Ever" Lowballs Fukushima


Wall Street Journal December 15, 2011 p. C1.

"Global calamities in 2011 caused $350 billion damage, most of it not covered"

Majia here: The article places the cost of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami at only $35 billion, which is a massive understatement.

I think Ulrich Beck's observations are pertinent in explaining this estimate. Here is where the interview can be found

Beck observes that with Fukushima and other modern risks stemming from human decision making “we have a system of organized irresponsibility: Nobody really is responsible for those consequences. We have a system of organized irresponsibility, and this system has to be changed.

Beck observes that the denial of responsibility—the system of organized irresponsibility—requires the populace and the state to assume costs of disasters. In this important sense, Beck points out, “this is a contradiction to capitalism and the market economy. We have the same discussion actually in relation to the banking system; it's quite similar. Actually, the banks should take care of possible crises, and maybe they should have an insurance principle as well. But they don't, so actually the state has to take it. This is socialism; this is state socialism.” 

A system of organized irresponsibility is exactly what we have in the global nuclear industry and Arnie Gunderson explained to us in a previous interview how the insurance on nuclear works in the US. It is a farce.
http://www.fairewinds.com/content/are-regulators-and-nuclear-industry-applying-valuable-lessons-learned-fukushima

[paraphrasing] US Nuclear power plants are set up as limited liability corporations with little-to-no assets backing them so the public will have to pay majority of clean up costs from a nuclear accident.
Losses caused by nuclear accidents in the US are limited by price Anderson at approximately $10 billion
Design bases limits that are used to specify the plant’s safety structures against earthquakes, hurricanes, and the like are set by industry scientists who grossly underestimate the likelihood of severe earthquakes, storms, etc.

Nuclear power plants use a cost-benefit analysis system that grossly reduces anticipated costs of accidents.

Gunderson identifies the cost-benefit system as the Max 2 design analysis system (I may have misspelled the name of the system).

David Shannon, who developed this cost-benefit system, decried its use by the nuclear power industry. He had designed it for a dirty bomb and feels its extrapolation to nuclear plant accidents is inappropriate.

Gunderson identifies some of the cost-benefit analysis system’s limitations.

It only looks at some kinds of cancer that would be caused by a nuclear accident, not all forms.

It doesn’t look at other illnesses besides cancer caused by radiation, such as heart attacks caused by exposure to cesium.

It assumes radiation that lands on field will be plowed under, not decontaminated.

It presumes houses will be  hosed off and the water will be allowed to drain into rivers and ground water.

It includes no clean up for forests.

It plans for NO storage of radioactive material in drums  after clean up.

It presumes radiation stays in ground and doesn’t get thrown up in air by winds, thereby artificially limiting extent of human exposure.

It presumes accident lasts 2 and ½ hours ONLY. Fukushima has been 7 months.

It assumes not much fuel is damaged

It assumes wind blows in straight line

It gives plant owner option of compensation or clean up and compensation is always cheaper.

It lowballs human life at $3 million dollars.

It allows NRC to choose whether or not to make changes outlined by the cost-benefit system.

THE NRC wants RADIATION EXPLOSURE LEVELS 100 times HIGHER THAN APPROVED BY EPA
 
Although Arnie's comments apply only to the US, we can extrapolate them to other countries, including Japan. 

Japan's official and unofficial clean up efforts will never cease so long as people recognize the extent of contamination caused by Fukushima. Decontamination will take generations and in some areas it will be impossible.

IN CONCLUSION, THE WSJ HEADLINE SERIOUSLY UNDER-ESTIMTES GLOBAL DISASTER LOSSES BY SYSTEMATICALLY UNDERSTATING THE COSTS OF FUKUSHIMA. 

IF THE TRUTH WERE KNOWN, WE WOULD ALL AGREE THAT NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS NEED TO BE SHUTDOWN NOW.



1 comment:

  1. We need to pull a few nails in the coffin of nuclear, before it kills us.

    ReplyDelete